Local Optometrist Listed as Third Alaskan Swine Flu Fatality

49-year-old Robert Suder, a local optometrist, was the third swine flu fatality in Alaska this flu season. He passed away January 11, just more than a month before his 50th birthday.


Suder worked at the popular Vista Optical in Fred Meyer, where glow-in-the-dark stars lined the ceiling of his exam room. The center has had to cancel appointments since the loss of their doctor. Patients remember him as a quiet man, dedicated to his work and thorough in all that he did.


Cases of swine flu have been concerning state epidemiologists like Dr. Joe McLaughlin…


Dr. McLaughlin: “Influenza activity has already started here in Alaska, virtually every region in the state is reporting cases the only region we haven’t had any reports from is the Northern region but that doesn’t mean that there’s not flu there we suspect there is flu there. Most of the activity has been in Southcentral Alaska so far and so flu is here, most of the flu we’ve been seeing actually virtually all, has been H1N1.”


McLaughlin said there were 47 cases of the flu reported in November, which rose steeply to 200 cases in December. January figures aren’t yet available, but he said they were expecting an increase. For more, read: Flu Spikes in Alaska.


A memorial for Robert Suder was held January 18 at Trinity Christian Center.


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